Ukraine

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Photography

Containing 80 Portraits, ‘Stop Tanks with Books’ Pleas for Broad, Sweeping Action in Ukraine

May 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

Lina in a national costume, Orihovo-Vasylivka village, Donetsk (2018). Images © Mark Neville, courtesy of Nazraeli Press

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, British artist Mark Neville moved to Kyiv, a city he traveled to frequently from his home in London since beginning Stop Tanks with Books in 2016. The project, which culminates in a new 180-page volume edited by David Company and published by Nazraeli Press, involved documenting life in the country through portraits of passersby on the street, families lounging at the beach, and others dancing among energetic nightclub crowds.

Each photograph tethers a human face to the entirely inhumane atrocities of war and “(weaponizes) the medium to effect change.” The images are intimate and profound, showing a young girl screaming into a toy phone following shelling in 2016 or a father and son cradling goats in their home in Decyatny.

 

Alexsandr Konokov and Sasha on their Goat Farm in Decyatny, Zhytomyr Oblast, 2017

Neville’s intention for the project has always been twofold. He hoped to inspire broad, international support for Ukraine’s independence in Donbas and Crimea and to offer a necessary corrective to the stereotypical information and images disseminated by the Kremlin, which he saw Western media sources often redistributing without context. “Stop Tanks With Books was my attempt to fight Russian aggression,” Neville says.

Eighty of his portraits are positioned alongside research from the Centre of Eastern European Studies in Berlin about the 2.5 million people who had already been displaced by 2018, in addition to short stories by Ukrainian poet and novelist Lyuba Yakimchuk that detail life under Russian occupation in Donbas.

The pairings lead to a call to action written in both Ukrainian and English, one made more urgent by the full-scale assault on the nation that’s taken thousands of civilian lives alone in the last three months. “I wonder what the international response would be if Stockholm, London, Paris, or New York were threatened with an unprovoked and imminent invasion by Russia? Our book is a prayer and a necessary plea to the international community,” Neville wrote before the war officially began, when he also sent copies of the book to 750 policymakers, ambassadors, media members, and those involved in peace talks. He hoped to raise awareness about the immediate threat the people of Ukraine faced.

There are a few copies of Stop Tanks with Books available from Setanta Books, although a second edition with a new foreword by Neville is in progress. You can find much more of the photographer’s activist-centered work, in addition to more images from the series, on his site. (via Lens Culture)

 

Boy with dog, Troitske, Luhansk (2019)

Couple at Stanytsia Luhanska Bridge (2019)

Ukrainsk, Donetsk (2021

Three Kilometres from the frontline, Donetsk (2019)

Policewomen, Mariupol (2019)

Kristina in Troyitske, Eastern Ukraine, an hour after the shelling (2016)

Maria Holubets, Natalia Tarasenko, Rozalia Boiko, Maria Shvanyk, and Rozalia Mahnyk at the Greek Catholic Monastery, Zvanivka (2018)

 

 



Craft Food

A Cast of Felted Food, Animals, and Other Characters by Manooni Exude Joy and Goodwill

May 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Manooni, shared with permission

Olha and Hanna Dovhan (previously) are the creative minds behind the adorable felt sculptures of Manooni. Whimsical and endlessly cheerful, the small family units, pairs of pears, and coupled avocados are needle felted with wool and finished with tiny grins.

Based in Ukraine, the Dovhans have spent the majority of the war in Lviv, although their mother, who is also part of the Manooni team, remains with family members in the now Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia region. The sisters brought some of their materials with them to finish projects that were already underway and have been raising money for Ukrainians in need via Patreon. “Unfortunately, the war is not over, and we can’t leave behind people who are suffering from this terrible invasion,” Olha tells Colossal.

You can support Manooni’s work by shopping available pieces on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design Illustration

A Set of Notecards Celebrates Pysanka, the Ukrainian Tradition of Egg Decorating

April 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Present & Correct

The team at Present & Correct recently released a set of six Riso-printed notecards in homage to the Ukrainian art of pysanka. A springtime staple, the annual activity involves decorating eggs with folk motifs utilizing a wax-resist method—read more about the technique previously on Colossal. Each blank card showcases four different designs in pastel tones above a phrase reading “Peace and Hope” in Ukrainian, a message steeped in the tradition itself. The packs are available now in the Present & Correct shop, and all proceeds will be donated to Voices of Children, which is aiding those dealing with the trauma of the ongoing war.

 

 

 



Illustration

Cheery Characters Enliven Vibrant, Whimsical Illustrations by Tania Yakunova

March 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Tania Yakunova, shared with permission

Ukrainian illustrator Tania Yakunova gravitates toward bold color palettes and clean lines to define her spirited characters. Set on monochromatic backdrops, her quirky scenes are tinged with whimsy and play with scale, surrounding the figures with low-hanging white stars, towering leaves, and oversized art supplies. Many of the Kyiv-based illustrator’s works involve a mix of digital and analog sketching with the final pieces rendered in paint.

In recent weeks, Yakunova has been creating a series of ceramics focused on mental health, alongside illustrations responding to the ongoing war in Ukraine. You can find more of her works on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Marina Abramović Is Recreating Her Iconic ‘The Artist Is Present’ to Raise Money for Ukrainians in Need

March 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art (2010). Photo by Marco Anelli. All images courtesy of Sean Kelly, New York

The latest in artist-driven projects to support Ukrainians affected by war, Marina Abramović is reviving her famous performance piece “The Artist is Present” to raise funds for humanitarian relief in Ukraine. Originally presented at the Museum of Modern Art back in 2010, the iconic work will be restaged in two iterations—one for a single person and another for two—at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, where a solo show spanning decades of the Serbian artist’s work is on view through April 16. Photographer Marco Anelli documented nearly all 1,500 people who sat in silence across from Abramović 12 years ago and will also shoot these new encounters.

This recreation follows the artist’s heartfelt message of solidarity with the nation, which she released the day after Russia declared war. “An attack on Ukraine is an attack on all of us. It’s an attack on humanity and has to be stopped,” she says. Abramović also recently installed a massive public work, titled “Crystal Wall of Crying,” at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kyiv. Completed in October 2021, the outdoor monument honors Jews murdered in the region in one of the largest massacres and is one of many of her pieces focused on healing.

Bidding for “The Artist is Present: A Benefit Auction for Ukraine” is open through March 25, and all proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Direct Relief.

 

Installation view of Marina Abramović: Performative

 

 



Photography

Highlighting Life in Ukraine, A Print Sale is Raising Funds for People Impacted By the Crisis

March 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Ukraine Runs Through It,” Justyna Mielnikiewicz

A print sale from the women-led nonprofit Vital Impacts (previously) is raising money for people affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine. The month-long fundraiser, titled Impact Now, offers more than 100 images from National Geographic photographers. Taken globally and diverse in subject matter, the collection includes a variety of landscapes and wildlife, in addition to stunning underwater shots by renowned photographers Paul Nicklen (previously) and David Doubilet (previously)—and multiple shots focus specifically on life in Ukraine. David Guttenfelder documents protestors from the country’s Orange Revolution in the mid-aughts, while Justyna Mielnikiewicz spotlights young dancers from Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in 2015, the latter of which became a hub for pro-Russia rebels the year prior.

Impact Now runs through April 20, and all profits will be donated to Direct Relief, which is providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine. You can buy prints here.

 

“Ukrainian Demonstrators in the Orange Revolution,” David Guttenfelder

“Dresses,” Amy Toensing

“Polar Bear Mother with Cubs,” Norbert Rosing

“Central Park on a Foggy Night, New York,” Jim Richardson

“Emperor Reflections,” Paul Nicklen

“Merced River Yosemite Valley,” Michael Melford

“Last Bell Kyiv,” Dina Litovsky

“Chance Encounter,” David Doubilet

“Yosemite Valley after the Storm,” Jimmy Chin